|Action||Develop requirements that will address concerns regarding transfer and off-site management of poultry waste in the Commonwealth.|
|Comment Period||Ends 8/21/2009|
Subject: Comments from the Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River on Proposed Amendments to the VPA General Permit for Poultry Waste Management (9VAC25-630)
We believe this rule fills a large and important gap in current regulations and is urgently needed. The rule is not perfect, but overall it is an improvement and we urge the State to adopt proposed amendments that will improve the quality of our waters in Virginia. At this time, 80 percent of all poultry waste created in Virginia is sold or moved off site without any rules to protect our waters. This cannot continue.
Generally, the proposed regulations need improvement in the following areas: training obligations, criteria for approval of nutrient management plans, enforcement, monitoring frequency, monitoring of additional pollutants, and record keeping.
Training: The final rule should clarify that any and all persons involved in poultry waste management on behalf of a company or farm must be trained. For example, it is not adequate for the front end loader operator at a farm to be trained but not the person determining application rates for the waste. Similarly, the manager of a waste hauling firm needs to be trained as well as all drivers. To minimize any unnecessary cost or inconvenience of this obligation, the state should offer an on-line training option, directly or by an approved third party such as a college, technical school or association.
Nutrient Management Plans: Approval of the contents of the NMP is a critical aspect of the proper management of the waste. Therefore, the state should adopt detailed criteria for approval of the NMP, and the proposed criteria should be subject to public comment.
Enforcement: A regulation is only as good as its enforcement, and this rule will be particularly difficult to enforce. There should be a practical supplement to the field work of state agency staff. For example, each party subject to this rule should be required to complete an online compliance certification each year. The certification should be in some detail so that the person will know specifically what they should have done when certifying their compliance. We would be happy to assist the State with developing a certification program.
Monitoring Frequency: Correctly, under this rule, the monitoring frequency can be increased. However, the criteria and conditions for an increase are not specifically included. We ask that more frequent monitoring be spelled out in the rule and directly related to both the frequency of waste application to the affected land and the proximity of the soil conditions to the limits that constrain application of litter and other supplements. If the applications are frequent and the limits are being approached, monitoring should be more often. Also, the rule should indicate what time of year is to be used for sampling and how sampling should be timed relative to waste application. This should be based on whether the sampling is representative and useful to the monitoring results.
Additional pollutants: Add arsenic to the list of pollutants that are monitored in the wastes.
Record keeping: The rule calls for certain records if over 5 tons are given to a party in any 365 days. That does not appear to be workable. In particular, one will not know if over 5 tons are delivered until up to one year after the first delivery. How can records be created at that point for the previous 365 days? Can recording information be stopped when the last 365 days have lapsed? The only way for the public and the State to know if a facility delivered over 5 tons is for records to exist. If they do not exist, does that mean the party delivered less than 5 tons? The only solution is to require records for all transactions without the 5 ton cutoff.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
Margaret Lorenz, Policy Coordinator